The Maritime Advocate–Issue 769


1. Not getting over it
2. Making the right choice
3. Sweating cargoes
4. Phone power
5. SSY views 2021
6. Crew changes in Singapore
7. Piracy on the increase
8. Explaining EEXI
9. Port costs calculator
10. Ships as arteries

Notices & Miscellany

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1. Not getting over it

By Michael Grey

One curious phenomenon of our present pandemic is the frequently expressed hope and desire of well-meaning and invariably self-appointed “influencers”,  that when the emergency is over, we should not return to our old ways of doing things, but move on to a better world. This usually introduces a lecture on the flaws in our present way of life and the improvements that can be ours by embracing environmentalism and WFH, preferring seeds and pulses and electric cars to red meat, while eschewing long-haul aviation.

History tends to inform us that such behaviour often may be found amid a catastrophe; in the past usually involving extreme forms of religion – environmentalism might well be the modern equivalent in a secular age. Such records also remind us that once the memory of the terror has receded, the old ways re-establish themselves. People, it might be said, “get over it”.

But in our maritime world, we do not need to channel our inner Thunberg to realise that the past year has indeed shown us some things that really could be done better in the post-Covid future. The undoubted inadequacies of seafarers’ lives, for a start, could be subject to some serious study, with a view to improvement, as their treatment since the Pandemic struck has been little short of disgraceful. They, and the shipping industry in which they serve, has kept the global supply chain operating. Their thanks has been to have been taken completely for granted, denied shore leave, treated like pariahs by authorities and expected to operate their ships ad infinitum. The struggle, in the future will be to persuade the clever people we need to operate sophisticated ships to remain in the business, or indeed to become recruits to a calling where their predecessors have been so abused. It might be suggested that the “old ways” will not be sufficient.

Nothing new, you might suggest, about merchant seafarers being taken for granted or even badly treated. Here’s a thought. “The first duty of a government is to protect the lives of its subjects, and to every other class of workmen, excepting sailors, this duty is discharged”. That was from a letter to The Times in December 1869 by the Newcastle ship-owner James Hall, which may be found quoted in Richard Woodman’s History of the British Merchant Navy Vol. 3. Hall was writing about the appalling loss of life in the seafaring workforce in old, overloaded ships and beginning a long process of reform that would culminate in the Load Line Rules and a more diligent maritime regulator, at least in the UK.
What might be done to improve the seafarer’s lot as the 21st century grinds its way back to some sort of normality? If we want bright people to embrace a seafaring career, then a career it ought to be; not an industry that depends for the most part upon casual labour, with little job security. There are good employers who train, maintain and retain their staff. Why must they compete with operators whose modus operandi is really little different to that of the late 19th century?

There is a major piece of work to be done on the sheer nonsense of “minimum safe  manning”, a scam in which flag states with an eye on an income, seek a competitive advantage offering a cascade to the very lowest manning they think they can get away with. The figure – I have just been looking at a 13 person “safe” headcount for a 25,000dwt non-UMS bulker, offered by an ambitious Caribbean state to a thrusting owner – which is ridiculous from start to finish. It is all very well saying that the “Safe” manning figure demanded by the flag will be invariably exceeded. It probably will be, but the manning level that counts should surely be one that takes into account the workload of the ship and if you believe the recent study by the World Maritime University on “adjusted” hours of rest and work, it never is.

And it is not good enough to cite the supposedly long leaves that allegedly compensate for the ridiculous hours of work. We are talking here about health and sanity, along with the provision of “decent” work. If flag states are to be permitted to regulate numbers, (and we might start by questioning this) “safety” can surely be automatically assumed in a crewing level that takes into account the realistic operation of the ship.

If we are to retain and recruit, we must start thinking about what people ashore like to call the work-life balance, and getting some fun and pleasure into seafaring, something that has been eroded utterly, not just during the pandemic but in the years leading up to this current disaster. We won’t “just get over it”, and action is long overdue.

Michael Grey is former editor of Lloyd’s List.

2. Making the right choice

An analysis of the recent Supreme Court decision involving Enka and Chubb emphasises the importance of making the right choice when it comes to contracts and jurisdiction.

Enka contracted to provide work on the construction of a power plant in Russia. The contract contained an arbitration agreement requiring disputes to be referred to arbitration in London under ICC Rules. However, the contract contained no express choice of law governing either the substantive agreement or the arbitration agreement.

A massive fire erupted at the plant. The owner received USD400 million under its insurance policy with Chubb. Chubb commenced subrogated proceedings in the Moscow Arbitration Court against Enka, as well as other defendants, on the basis that the fire was caused by inadequate work.

Enka sought an anti-suit injunction in the London Commercial Court, restraining Chubb from continuing the Russian proceedings on the basis that they violated the arbitration agreement in the contract, which was subject to English law.
For full details of the case see the story on TT Club’s website at:

3. Sweating cargoes

The condensation of air moisture in cargo holds can cause cargo spoilage, self-heating and hazardous chemical reactions, leading to dangerous situations for ships and their crews .

Whenever bulk or bagged cargo is exposed to a change in atmospheric conditions, there is the risk of “sweat” which can compromise cargo quality and cause self-heating, oxygen depletion and/or the emission of explosive gases. Preventing this takes expertise, the proper equipment and a clear understanding of the properties of the cargo being carried.

Read about a new guidance document issued by the Standard Club, INTERCARGO and DNV GL in DNV GL’s latest article in Maritime Impact. There is also a link to the full guidance document.

Read the article


4. Phone power

Cyber-crime connected with fraudulent demands for payments continue to plague the maritime sector as a large claim handled by the International Transport Intermediaries Club (ITIC) demonstrates.
A ship manager received an email from a shipyard detailing the first payment that was due for agreed repairs. The ship manager scheduled the payment but on the day before the monies were to be released, the ship manager received a further mail. This message explained that due to a certain difficulty, the routing details for the first payment had been changed. However, this second email was fake and was not noticed by the ship manager (in effect, the fraudster has simply changed part of the email address from “irn” to “im”).

The ship manager soon received a replacement invoice and new routing instructions – on an identical template to the original – from the fraudster and made the payment. Shortly afterwards, they received payment confirmation.

A few days later, the yard sent a further invoice which was intercepted by the fraudsters and replaced with a fake invoice and fake payment details.

 In total, the ship manager paid US$500,000 to the fraudsters and, as the yard had received nothing, they claimed this amount from the ship manager. With ITIC’s involvement, the claim was reduced to US$ 360,000 to reflect that the yard was partly at fault for not operating secure internal systems. ITIC settled the claim.

ITIC reinforces its advice that all companies should be very aware of vendors or partners who change their bank details and should always telephone to confirm. And when doing so, they must use a phone number they trust, and not simply the one stated on the (potentially fraudulent) invoice.


5. SSY views 2021

After a highly volatile 2020, leading shipbroker Simpson Spence Young (SSY) looks at the next 12 months and highlights areas of particular interest in their 2021 Outlook Report.  The report looks at various drivers of the shipping markets, including how the developing emissions regulations may affect commercial fleets and shipping investments.

Contributions come from a range of senior research and broking experts and cover dry bulk, tanker and gas freight markets; shipping investments, CO2 emissions, FFAs, metals and energy derivatives. Together, they give a taste of what to look out for in 2021.

According to SSY chairman Mark Richardson: “The aim of this report is to bring you a concise view of what we will be looking out for in the next 12 months. We are still in the midst of the global pandemic and understanding the long-term impact, and the recovery that should follow, will be crucial. We’ll be watching closely how this plays out to ensure we can provide the most up to date insights to our clients, underpinning our views with the latest research and data.”

Read the full report here

6. Crew changes in Singapore

The Singapore Maritime Port Authority has announced that full personal protective equipment is now required for personnel facilitating crew changes in Singapore. The authority has been introducing a number of measures in recent weeks.
To further safeguard the Singapore local community against the spread of Covid-19 from ‘outside’, service providers and personnel that facilitate crew changes in Singapore shall meet the minimum level of personal protective equipment (PPE) as prescribed below:

  • Meet-and-greet staff shall don surgical mask and gloves when escorting crew at the airport.
  • Land transport drivers shall don full PPE (surgical mask, gloves, gown) when transporting crew between the airport and the vessel.
  • Launch boat operators shall don full PPE when transporting crew between the pier and vessel.

To follow implementation measures imposed by the Singapore authorities, go to BIMCO’s  implementation page.  New holding areas at Marina South Pier and West Coast Pier have also been set up for crew changes. The opening up of new holding areas to enable crew changes to be conducted safely is seen as another tightening measure.  

7. Piracy on the increase 

The International Chamber of Commerce’s International Maritime Bureau (IMB)’s annual piracy report recorded an increase of piracy and armed robbery incidents in 2020.
In 2020, IMB’s Piracy Reporting Centre (PRC) received 195 incidents of piracy and armed robbery against ships worldwide, in comparison to 162 in 2019. The incidents included three hijacked vessels, 11 vessels fired upon, 20 attempted attacks, and 161 vessels boarded. The rise is attributed to an increase of piracy and armed robbery reported within the Gulf of Guinea as well as increased armed robbery activity in the Singapore Straits.

Globally, 135 crew were kidnapped from their vessels in 2020, with the Gulf of Guinea accounting for over 95% of crew numbers kidnapped. A record 130 crew members were kidnapped in 22 separate incidents. Since 2019, the Gulf of Guinea has experienced an unprecedented rise in the number of multiple crew kidnappings. In the last quarter of 2019 alone, the Gulf of Guinea recorded 39 crew kidnapped in two separate incidents.

Incidents in the Gulf of Guinea are particularly dangerous as over 80% of attackers were armed with guns, according to the latest IMB figures. All three vessel hijackings and nine of the 11 vessels fired upon in 2020 related to this region. Crew kidnappings were reported in 25% of vessel attacks in the Gulf of Guinea – more than any other region in the world.

“The latest statistics confirm the increased capabilities of pirates in the Gulf of Guinea with more and more attacks taking place further from the coast. This is a worrying trend that can only be resolved through increased information exchange and coordination between vessels, reporting and response agencies in the Gulf of Guinea Region. Despite prompt action by navies in the region, there remains an urgent need to address this crime, which continues to have a direct impact on the safety and security of innocent seafarers,” said Michael Howlett, Director of the ICC International Maritime Bureau.
Ralf Nagel, chief executive of the German Shipowners‘Association comments: “The new numbers are particularly worrying for West Africa. For several years now, we have been observing that the situation in the Gulf of Guinea is worsening. This region has meanwhile become the hotspot of piracy worldwide. Ships are almost regularly attacked here, including German vessels, seamen kidnapped from board and held hostage for weeks – an intolerable situation.”

“For a long time now, shipping has required the neighbouring countries to do more to combat piracy in their waters in a sustainable manner. But apparently these countries are unwilling or unable to do so. We therefore demand that, in future, similar to the situation in Somalia, there is always a current and valid situation report for maritime shipping in order to be able to better assess risks. In addition, the European Union must do everything in its power to solve this problem with the neighboring countries. Otherwise we are heading straight for a situation that is as dramatic for German and international shipping as it was at the Horn of Africa.”

View the full IMB report here

8. Explaining EEXI

Addressing Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions has become a growing priority to vessel owners. With an increased focus on reducing GHG emissions, regulations are constantly emerging and evolving.

In keeping with the established long-term goals for reducing GHG emissions, the IMO recently approved the draft amendments to MARPOL Annex VI, which incorporate the energy efficiency index for existing vessels (EEXI). The draft amendments will now be put forward for adoption at the subsequent MEPC 76 session, to be held in June 2021 with a view to enforcement on January 1, 2023.
ABS has developed the Regulatory Debrief: Energy Efficiency Existing Ship Index (EEXI) to assist the maritime industry in gaining a better understanding of what this new requirement will mean for their vessels. Additionally, ABS offers a suite of solutions to assist owners and operators as they prepare.
To learn more, download your copy of Regulatory Debrief: Energy Efficiency Existing Ship Index (EEXI).

Download Today

9. Port costs calculator

Global shipping software solutions provider, Softship, has launched an innovative, web-based Port Cost Calculator for carriers to maintain up-to-the-minute, fully accurate records and full visibility of expenses at all stages of each individual port call.

Thomas Wolff, Softship’s managing director, explains: “Vessels will call at many ports across the world and each port call requires a significant number of services to be provided by a large range of service providers.  Multiply this by the number of vessels in an average fleet and the process quickly becomes unwieldly and error-prone. Port calls are expensive and a carrier needs to know, in advance, the anticipated cost of a call so that the overall voyage result can be accurately predicted. Carriers must also be confident that the costs they incur in port are legitimate and accurate and can be reconciled against services actually delivered for the pre-agreed tariff.  Our new web-based tool – which slots seamlessly into a carrier’s own internal IT environment – streamlines this time-consuming process and injects a much higher level of confidence and accuracy into the overall port cost calculations.”

A vessel’s expected port activities are pre-loaded into the calculator from the original port call templates and unforeseen or real-time adjustments can be taken direct from vessel reports. Based on this, the calculator will present a list of all expected charges and costs. These are then automatically applied to the overall voyage result giving the carrier full visibility over the financial performance of each voyage.

As the port call progresses, vendor invoices are automatically reconciled and approved for payment which reduces staff time and errors. Discrepancies are identified and rapidly resolved.

10.  Ships as arteries

‘If the world is the heart, ships are the arteries’ is one of the messages to come across from BIMCO’s latest presentation of our industry.

Check it out at

Notices & Miscellany

DNV GL name change
Classification society DNV GL will change its name to DNV on 1 March 2021. The move comes after a comprehensive review of the company’s strategy as it positions itself for a world in which many of DNV’s markets are undergoing fundamental change.The present name has been in place since the 2013 merger between DNV (Det Norske Veritas) and GL (Germanischer Lloyd). The name simplification is a natural consequence of a successfully completed merger and of having operated as a fully integrated company for several years now.

Chief executive Remi Eriksen comments: “We merged two leading companies with complementary strengths and market positions, and combining the two names was the right solution in 2013. However, it was not a name that rolled off the tongue, and many customers already refer to the company as DNV. Our brand is used by many of our customers to build trust towards their stakeholders, and a simpler name will be an even stronger trust mark for our customers in the future, but still carries with it all our strengths and proud 157-year-old legacy with a purpose to safeguard life, property and the environment.”

New Florida law appointment
Michelle Otero Valdés, partner at Chalos & Co’s Miami office, has been appointed Chair of the Florida Bar’s Admiralty Law Committee and Vice-Chair of the Federal Bar Association’s Admiralty Law Section for fiscal year 2021.
Lone workers seminar
Security Matters’ Protecting Lone Workers – Personal Safety beyond the norm webinar is being held on 11 February 2012 at 10.30 (UK time). Questions on the agenda include whether   approaches to safety and security are being applied more consistently across both work and personal lives and whether changes to working environments and collective efforts to respond to Covid-19 altered approaches to risk and how personal safety solutions are specified.


Bunkering in the Middle East
The Middle East Bunkering Convention has built a robust reputation for the quality and scope of debate it provides on the key issues and challenges facing the marine fuels sector and the wider shipping industry. The virtual conference and exhibition will take place on 26-27 January 2021.

MEBC21 will be the first of 2021’s international conferences to practically consider the bunker sector’s journey towards the close of the coronavirus pandemic and beyond. Exploring the theme of “building resilience in a challenging market”, discussion will centre on how shipping, energy, and bunker markets navigate their post-pandemic recovery, both in the Middle East and Worldwide.


Alternative fuels
The UK Chamber of Shipping, The International Bunkering Industry Association and Shell will be presenting the Alternative Fuels in the Maritime Industry Virtual Round Table on Thursday 21st January from 10am – 11:30am.

The event will look at a variety of fuels which one may not think of directly when thinking about marine fuel oil. Shell will delve deeper into the work they are doing on alternative fuels to use. After the presentation, there will be a virtual round table with Shell (Marcel van den Berg – Business Development Manager GTL Fuel), IBIA (Unni Einemo – Director and IMO Representative) to discuss the place these fuels have in the shipping industries’ journey to decarbonise.

Sign up here
If you have any questions get in contact with Priya Birk.
Help for seafarers
The staff of Atlas Marine Services held a collection for seafarers in appreciation of the extremely difficult circumstances they are currently enduring and to help towards the provision of some much-needed comfort.

Stephen Herron, Director, said “Our dedicated team worked tirelessly in 2020 to support our customers, whilst ensuring Covid-safe measures and this was recognised with a well-deserved end of year bonus.  It was humbling, then, when they came up with a donation of S$500 for seafarers which the company was pleased to match”.

Please notify the Editor of your appointments, promotions, new office openings and other important happenings:


And finally,

A man named Bob, living in NYC, was a photographer. He wasn’t very good, but he did manage to make a living in Central Park taking pictures of children on his pet Llama.

The problem was that he made enough to survive, but not much else. He could not afford to properly board his Llama.

So he simply kept the Llama in his small apartment. The smell eventually caused  his neighbours to complain.

Animal control came and determined he could not keep the Llama in his apartment. He was issued a summons and given 48 hours to turn the Llama in down at the shelter.

He did not know what to do, the Llama was his means of support.

A friend of Bob’s came up with a plan. He said, “The people down at the shelter are not going to know what a Llama is, so just go and get another animal and turn that in.”

Bob decided that was a good idea.

The next day Bob went out to a Long Island farm and bought a goat, brought it down to the shelter, and turned the goat in with the summons for the Llama.

All seemed well for about a week, but one day his doorbell rang and it was 2 fire marshals.

They showed Bob his summons and a photo of the goat and said he was under arrest for the fraudulent compliance with the summons.

As they led him away in handcuffs, Bob said he understood what he did was wrong, but wanted to know why they sent fire marshals?

They said what he did was under their jurisdiction.

Bob said, “How is that?”

They replied: “because you turned in a false Llama”.

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